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Social media exec asks, "Why are we sending listeners to Facebook's party?"

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - 11:35am

Jim Roberts is with Commotion, a subsidiary of Broadcast Electronics which specializes in social media and audience interactivity tools for radio. He says radio needs to re-discover its websites as a source of ad revenue, by using social tools like Facebook and Twitter not as a desination for content, but to pull listeners in.

"If you look at your competition today, it's no longer just the station across town. It's Spotify, Pandora, Slacker, or other services that are causing the disintermediation of music discovery (and even news) from radio and making music consumption much more interactive," Roberts writes in Radio Ink today. "We need our websites to save radio from new threats that are offering something that radio has lost -- interactivity."

He recommends: 

  • Using social media to promote contests and events, but to keep all the relevant content on the website
  • Using the crowdsource power of social media for insight when programming music; and 
  • Getting back to advertising on your site -- it's the only reason Facebook wants your listeners in the first place.

Read Roberts' essay in Radio Ink here.

Social media and mobile tech fundamentally change ESPN's approach to audio

Monday, February 6, 2012 - 11:00am

A piece from Mashable demonstrates how social and mobile technology monumentally changed ESPN's approach to "the original mass broadcast medium," radio.

"Perhaps nothing shows the shifting landscape better than a recent name change for ESPN’s audio division," writes Mashable. "Until about three years ago, the entire division — the company’s second-most consumed medium, behind its ubiquitous television presence — was known simply as ESPN Radio."

Mo Davenport is a SVP/GM of ESPN's audio division. He told Mashable, "We shouldn’t be just ESPN Radio... We recognized that we should really be ESPN Audio and realign ourselves with saying that we want to serve sports fans at any time, wherever they are, and on whatever platform they want to be served on."

Last year, ESPN racked up 358 million podcast downloads, and more than 10 million streaming listening hours per month through ESPNRadio.com.

Mike Golic, of "Mike & Mike in the Morning," refers to social media’s "immediacy of reaction" when explaining how it changes the dynamic of their show. Instead of relying on the phone or fax machine for listeners feeback, they now receive a constant stream via Twitter.

ESPN SVP Production/Business Divisions Traug Keller will keynote RAIN Summit West, April 15 in Las Vegas. Learn more and register here.

Read more from Mashable here.

Study says up to 88% of online buyers have used fake registration info

Friday, January 27, 2012 - 11:10am

It's great when users are willing to divulge important demographic information when buying products, or to gain access to entertainment (such as online radio channels). Info like gender, age/year-of-birth, and geographical location not only gives merchants and publishers a better idea of who their customers are, but helps build a valuable database that can be monetized by delivering targeted marketing to specific demo groups, right?

But if your database includes 99-year old Jim Shew, who resides in zip code 90210, the following won't come as a surprise: New research shows that "88% of online buyers had at some point intentionally left registration information blank or used incorrect information when signing up for a new account at a website," reports eMarketer, "up 12 percentage points from 2010."

One caveat: this research does come from a "social login platform company," and naturally, the remedy is to allow users to log in using their Facebook or Twitter accounts. (It's likely that users are more honest about their personal information on their social media profiles.) The research also showed that 77% of U.S. online customers say they desire social sign-on for online retailers.

Read more from eMarketer here.

Digital & broadcast veteran Gregg Lindahl announces departure from Cox

Thursday, January 19, 2012 - 11:25am

We were surprised to see this tweet from industry veteran and Cox Media Group SVP/Digital and Strategy Gregg Lindahl:

"Calling it a day on my career with Cox was announced today. Its been fun but dates w/Telluride, Aspen & Vail await, then #ontothenextone"

Lindahl confirmed to RAIN his resignation, which will be effective at the end of the month.

"All change agents have a finite shelf life, and as my expiration date approached, I initiated transition discussions before the holidays," he told RAIN. "Cox is a terrific company, and we are parting on great terms and with a good path in place." Lindahl gave no firm indication of future plans.

He will be replaced at Cox by Leon Levitt, VP/Strategy and Mark Beck, VP/Information Technology, who'll divide his duties.

Lindahl is well-known as an early advocate of digital and the opportunities it affords traditional media companies, as well as a familiar voice to RAIN readers and RAIN Summit attendees (he's contributed content to this newsletter, and has frequently spoken and moderated Summit panels).

His prior position was that of VP/Interactive & New Technologies at Cox Radio (the first U.S. radio broadcaster to stream its entire roster of stations, with ad-insertion technology, beginning in 2000). He served as President of Eagle Research & Snap Software for Cox, and was President/COO of the early mp3radio service. Most recently, he consolidated the digital efforts of Cox Media's newspaper, television, and radio companies.

Despite the fact even heavy Net users are listening, not many are compelled to visit station websites

Tuesday, January 3, 2012 - 11:00am

Internet "power users" still listen to a good amount of on-air radio, but they don't seem to visit station sites very much, says the Media Audit. The research company reported highlights from its National Radio Format Report last week.

The study indicates that radio listening is more than 22% of the average U.S. consumer's total daily media exposure, for the average consumer. For "heavy" Internet users (3 or more hours online a day), radio is still nearly 19% of their total daily media exposure. And for Facebook users, radio tops 21% of total daily media exposure.

But, just 17.6% of U.S. adults visited a local radio station website in the past month. This mark fluctuated quite a bit from market to market, indicating that at least a few local groups are doing something right! In the last month, 26% of adults in Austin, TX visited a local station site; 23.3% in Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN; and 22.8% in San Jose, CA.

Looking further, it seems CHR listeners are most likely (72.8%) to be Facebook users (among all U.S. adults, 49.3% have logged onto Facebook in the past 30 days). Modern Rock listeners are pretty easily found on Facebook too. For Twitter, however, R&B/Urban is the top format: 17.4% Urban listeners used Twitter in the past 30 days.

Read more here.

12/15: WTOP, nation's top-billing station, makes digital a priority

Friday, December 23, 2011 - 11:00am

Hubbard Radio's WTOP (Washington D.C., 103.5 FM) has restructuerd and expanded its workforce to "unify digital and broadcast staff." The station says its aiming to "redefine the news workflow. Instead of the traditional model which takes broadcast content and tries to fit it into a digital hole, WTOP’s strategy will focus on the creation of news stories at the beginning of a process. A story’s execution will be determined at its origin. It will then be optimized for all the distribution platforms WTOP offers: radio, web, Facebook, Twitter and mobile." (read more here)

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